Anders Jones dove head-first into the startup world in 2009 when the Stanford graduate moved to Silicon Valley to join LiveRamp as employee number eight. After a few years, the young entrepreneur began to realize that Silicon Valley, with its high rents and local hostility toward startups, wasn’t all that great for tech business. Jones saw more innovation potential in other areas.
So when LiveRamp sold in 2014, Jones turned his attention to emerging innovation hubs across the country as he considered companies to invest in. As he connected with angel investors and venture capitalists from across the country, Maryland startups continued to appear on his radar. Realizing the rapid innovation happening at Johns Hopkins University and the University of Maryland, he decided to hone in on Maryland, making investments in local companies.
“I was really impressed with the level of talent that was here, and the execution around this innovation,” said Jones.
So in 2015, when Jones and four other co-founders had an idea for a financial services business of their own, Maryland was already on their radar. Doing their due diligence, the team analyzed cities across the country to determine the best place for a financial services firm. Eventually, Baltimore beat out all other cities, and their company,, prepared to open its doors in Charm City in 2016.
A thriving tech community needs a few components to come together. Those elements—innovation, talent, capital, and seasoned entrepreneurs—are all in Baltimore, said Jones.
Traditionally, financial services firms charge customers based on assets under management, and top-notch financial advising was often exclusive to individuals with a high net worth. Seeing a need for a new model that offers planning to lower net worth individuals, Anders and his team reimagined how consumers access financial planning.
Instead of charging based on assets under management,charges an annual subscription that’s tied to the services the client is getting. Each client is assigned a Certified Financial Planner, and costs are determined based on the complexity of advice required. Using a combination of people and technology, Facet Wealth lowers the costs to consumers. Jones estimates the consumer gets roughly a 60 percent discount, relative to what else is available on the market.
“We’re a financial services company that is very focused on providing holistic financial planning and wealth management to people with less than one million dollars,” said Jones.
Within three years of opening its doors, the company has grown to nearly 100 employees, most of which are Baltimore-based. It has raised $40 million in venture capital, and services thousands of clients on a daily basis, said Jones.
Reflecting on his decision to start a company, and a life, in Baltimore, Jones has no regrets.
“It was really refreshing moving here, to see how the community has really embraced investing in and creating a tech hub here,” Jones said, crediting a robust group of founders that are committed to growing great companies themselves.
Jones was amazed by the state, city and private sector resources he discovered upon moving to Maryland. These resources, Jones said, including TEDCO and university incubators, help entrepreneurs integrate into the ecosystem and raise early stage funds, and are instrumental in helping tech commercialization come to life.
Another thing that Baltimore offers Jones and his employees that San Francisco can’t? Affordable living. The company has relocated five professionals from other cities, all in their early-to-mid 20s, and four of the five are homeowners.
“That’s a hard thing to do in San Francisco,” said Jones. “Probably impossible, actually.”
While affordability and a great quality of life don’t always go hand-in-hand, in Maryland, they do, Jones said.
“You also have a great geographic dynamic, where you can be out of the city or in the countryside or on the Chesapeake Bay in 15 minutes,” Jones said. “Whereas, in San Francisco, it takes at least an hour to get anywhere in nature. So it’s been a really exciting experience for me, and I’m excited to be here for the long run.”
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